Shopify vs WooCommerce - Which is the Better Platform? (In-Depth Comparison)


Shopify vs WooCommerce - Which is the Better Platform? (In-Depth Comparison)
Shopify vs WooCommerce - Which is the Better Platform? (In-Depth Comparison)

In short, Shopify and WooCommerce are the most popular and easy-to-use e-commerce platforms on the market.

Both have many advantages and both are perfect solutions for building e-commerce websites. The best news is that you can do it all alone, without having to hire professional developers and designers. But which one is more feature-rich in order to fit your specific needs? Which one is cheaper? Which one is more beautiful? Which is more flexible? Which is the easiest to operate?

To answer these questions, we have studied and compared these two platforms in depth.

  1. Design

For websites (especially e-commerce websites), design is everything. If your website doesn't have the right aesthetic, or doesn't work properly, it won't win the trust of your customers.

Design of Shopify

One of the biggest selling points of Shopify is the visual quality of the themes, they offer dozens of different store templates, many of which are free, and more importantly, each theme comes in several different styles, so you can actually get hundreds of different designs.

All themes are mobile-responsive and offer different color options for a fresh, sleek, clean and simple look, perfect for forward-thinking, modern websites.

Shopify Official Theme Library

It's worth mentioning that all of these themes were not designed by Shopify alone, they were outsourced to a group of professional web designers to ensure they remained as attractive as possible. We like this approach because you can get different creativity from a wide variety of companies and people to make better choices.

Unfortunately, while there are many free options, high-end themes cost up to $180, which will have to be costly if you wish to build an exceptional online store.

The unique appeal of Shopify has led many webmasters to choose the same theme, and some users complain that their site looks too similar to others'. For this reason, we encourage you to customize.

The website theme is easy to modify, you can quickly adjust the colors and styles, and skilled developers can take advantage of the Liquid language they offer for more customization to make their brand stand out.

What's more gratifying is that you will get a theme editor to make some personalized adjustments to the theme. You can hide elements on the page, the hidden parts can still be modified in the theme editor, but they are not visible to visitors. The hidden parts can be re-enabled in the future without having to copy the whole theme over (a common problem for most developers facing WordPress).

WooCommerce Design

WooCommerce is a WordPress eCommerce plugin that doesn't offer any specific design features per se, it serves to provide a way to sell products and services online, leaving the design part of the job to your WordPress theme.

In most cases, you can choose any favorite WordPress theme and use it with WooCommerce. However, you can also consider themes made specifically for WooCommerce from the beginning, and if the design of your eCommerce website is particularly important to you, then you should look for themes dedicated to such.

When you first install the WooCommerce plugin, you'll automatically get a free theme called Storefront -- developed by the WooCommerce team, it's enough to set up a basic e-commerce site. However, if you want to customize the look further, then you'll need to install a series of child themes for Storefront, most of which are priced at $39, with some premium child themes available for up to $119.

Besides that, you can also check out online marketplaces like ThemeForest, which has a large number of themes compatible with WooCommerce.

To be honest, WooCommerce has a clear advantage when it comes to design. While Shopify has some great themes, it is limited to picking from its own theme store. WooCommerce, on the other hand, is an open source software with a large number of developers offering incredibly beautiful themes for a variety of industries and purposes.

  1. Price

Everyone wants more deals, but the two platforms have very different approaches to pricing: Shopify is clear and unambiguous, but WooCommerce is not.

While WooCommerce is a free open source plugin, you must consider the additional costs associated with designing a store. WordPress is also free, but you must consider the costs of hosting, themes, domains, extensions, and SSL certificates, and these services may need to be purchased from multiple companies.

Shopify is an out-of-the-box, one-stop solution that offers several simple pricing packages for you to choose from. After signing up, you can immediately design your new e-commerce website with all the features you need included.

This is a simple table showing the costs of each of the two platforms.

Platform

Software

Escrow

Subdomains

Top Level Domains

SSL Certificates

Shopify

$29/month

$9/year

Free of charge

WooCommerce

Free

$5~100/month

--

$10+/year

$100+/year

Note: Both Shopify and WooCommerce offer a number of upgrade options, depending on things like your business type and sales size. To simplify this comparison, only the cheapest packages are listed in the table above.

As you can see, even though WooCommerce is completely free, there are a lot of other costs associated with running a real e-commerce site. In addition, you may need to consider additional plugins such as SEO, payment gateways, and page editors, all of which cost money. Finally, you have to spend more time on setup and management, all of which is time and money.

Shopify has a more traditional pricing structure: $29/month, $79/month and $299/month, each offering different features, details of which can be found here.

The last thing to note is that whenever you sell a product, they charge a small fee. These fees change frequently, but in most cases, Shopify charges less and if you checkout with Shopify Payments, then you don't even have to pay any processing fees.

  1. Function

Although the pricing methods are different, the two platforms are very similar when it comes to the functionality of e-commerce websites. They both have large and reliable plugin marketplaces for providing any extensions you may need.

Shopify's features

To take full advantage of the platform, you may need to install some nice plugins, but Shopify offers more free options to get you into the swing of things right from the start:.

  1. Infinite Products
  2. Unlimited file storage
  3. Automated Fraud Analysis
  4. Built-in Oberlo integration
  5. Manual order creation
  6. Discount Code
  7. Blog Module
  8. Free SSL Certificate
  9. Mobile device optimization
  10. Editable HTML and CSS
  11. Credit Card Payment
  12. Multilingual
  13. Adjustable freight and tax rates
  14. Customer Information
  15. Forwarding and distribution capacity
  16. Good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) structure
  17. Product Reviews
  18. Facebook Sales Module
  19. Social Media Integration
  20. Physical and digital products
  21. Unlimited store traffic
  22. Daily Backup
  23. Website statistics and product reports
  24. Advanced Reports
  25. Full-featured mobile app
  26. Import products via CSV file
  27. Different product models
  28. Print order
  29. Gift Cards
  30. Save abandoned orders
  31. In contrast, some of these free features, such as CSV uploads, shipping options, and booking features, will cost you $500-$600 with WooCommerce.

WooCommerce Features

As an open source software, WordPress allows third-party developers to create various plugins and extensions, and WooCommerce pushes it further with many interesting features. Whether you want to design aesthetics, sell on social media, improve your email marketing skills, understand user behavior, or do anything else of interest, you can do it here.

The following is provided by WooCommerce.

  1. You can sell both physical and digital products, plus it's also suitable for affiliate marketing
  2. Receive payments through built-in PayPal and Stripe, as well as other payment gateways
  3. Adjustable freight and tax rates
  4. Unlimited number of products and categories
  5. Inventory control
  6. Design structure for mobile access
  7. Apply to your current WordPress theme
  8. Hundreds of plug-ins
  9. Free Facebook Ads and Facebook Store Extensions

Comparison of Shopify and WooCommerce features

To give you a clearer grasp of the differences, here's a side-by-side comparison of Shopify and WooCommerce.

Shopify

WooCommerce

Subscription-based services, a complete e-commerce solution

Free WordPress plugins that require hosting and WordPress installation

Core similarities and differences

Allows you to sell anything: physical/digital products, or online/offline services

Online store + offline store (based on Point of Sale suite)

Online store only

Round-the-clock email, live chat and phone support

Ticket, forum support and many online articles

Closed platform -- you can only modify your store to the extent Shopify allows

Open source software - you can freely modify the store without any restrictions

Shopify controls your store data

You have full control of the data

E-commerce website design

Dozens of store designs available

Thousands of store designs available (via WordPress themes)

Structure suitable for mobile device access

Other similarities and differences

Host your website for free

You purchase your own hosting service

Each plan includes free subdomains

Subdomains not included

Free SSL Certificate

You can use a free SSL certificate, but many people buy paid services

Unlimited file storage

File storage depends on your hosting

Selling an unlimited number of products

Create/use coupons and discounts

Accept payments via PayPal, payment gateways (including Stripe and credit cards), bank transfers, cash on delivery and other methods (over 70 options)

Accept payments via PayPal, Stripe, check, bank transfer, cash on delivery

Sales statistics and reports

Native support for multiple languages

Multiple language support through third-party plug-ins

Adjustable freight and tax rates

As you can see, no one platform has anything particularly important, and choosing which one to go with will come down to personal preference, or your opinion of open source software.

In many ways, Shopify is a more focused solution, offering everything to make online stores easier to use and more useful. Meanwhile, WooCommerce is very feature-rich, but it's still a WordPress add-on, which makes configuration more complicated.

Ultimately, it's hard to separate Shopify and WooCommerce in terms of functionality; both platforms have everything you need for an e-commerce site.

  1. Ease of use

Since there is no clear winner in terms of functionality, perhaps we can find one in terms of ease of use.

Shopify's Ease of Use

The main advantage of Shopify is that it's a subscription-based online tool, in other words, you just visit Shopify.com, click the sign up button, complete the basic setup wizard, and you're ready to start your online business. They will help you walk through all these steps, ask you about the products you intend to sell, and give you general tips on which design structure to choose, and how to set everything up.

After completing the initial wizard, you can access the main dashboard and from there create a new eCommerce site and perform actions such as adding products.

Overall, the whole process is very simple and, most importantly, you don't need any coding skills to do it alone. Once you start building the store, you can access each key menu from the sidebar of the dashboard at.

This organization is very intuitive when adding new products, processing sales and orders. For example, when adding products, all product parameters are available from a single panel and you don't have to go through different areas to set names, prices, images, inventory, etc. The following figure shows the Add New Product page.

Shopify is a reliable one-stop solution where you can sign up and start creating your online store immediately without any unexpected interruptions.

WooCommerce Ease of Use

In a way, WooCommerce is as easy to use as Shopify, but not for online stores. Since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin and not a subscription-based solution like Shopify, there are a few things you need to take care of before you start using it.

  1. Pick a domain name
  2. Choosing a Colocation Provider
  3. Launch a WordPress website
  4. Find and install WordPress themes
  5. Only after completing these four actions can you install the WooCommerce plugin on your site and start configuring your eCommerce site.
  6. Unfortunately, these steps require some web-related knowledge and skills. After all, they involve web servers, domain redirection, WordPress installation, and website publishing. To make things easier, you can pick a dedicated WordPress hosting company (such as our top choice Kinsta) that will configure the domain and WordPress for you, leaving only the WooCommerce part for you. Either way, it's much more complicated than Shopify's one-click button.
  7. Moreover, WooCommerce doesn't have any actual design, these tasks are basically handled by the WordPress theme. Fortunately, WooCommerce works with basically every theme on the market.
  8. Now, about WooCommerce itself, after you install and activate the plugin, you will see a setup wizard consisting of a few simple steps that take you through familiarizing yourself with each of the key elements:.
  9. Basically, you can set the main parameters of the store and everything else, such as currency, logistics, taxes, and payment gateways, etc. Once that's done, you can start using the store and add new products. The page to add products is shown below.
  10. As you can see, it's very similar to Shopify, with only some details presented slightly differently.

Which is easier to use

Shopify easily wins this round of comparison due to the initial set of hassles of setting up a WooCommerce store. After signing up for an account, you can set up your entire store in minutes, which makes Shopify suitable for almost everyone.

  1. Customer Support

Shopify is known for its high quality customer service, and every customer has access to 24/7 technical support in the form of email, live chat and a dedicated phone line. In addition, you have access to an extensive knowledge base containing some common problems and solutions.

WooCommerce support is not that simple. First of all, it is a free WordPress plugin, which means you can get support through WordPress forums. At the same time, you can create a free account on WooCommerce.com and get official support, but only for Tickets.

There are also plenty of blog posts on the Internet about WooCommerce, and in general, WooCommerce is for people who don't need to talk to a customer service representative and would rather complete their research online.

It's clear that for most people, Shopify offers far more support than WooCommerce, and nothing beats 24/7 customer service help.

  1. SEO

Any website that wants to get traffic needs strong SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and fortunately, both platforms offer many options.

SEO for Shopify

Shopify can handle basic SEO, such as metadata and site replication, and it's easy to get great results and strong user engagement as long as you can provide quality content. Shopify can easily beat WooCommerce in many aspects of SEO, as it has the cleanest code and most natural link structure that provides a smooth user experience, resulting in improved search ranking visibility.

What's more, Shopify is a hosting platform based on a strong infrastructure that provides fast loading speeds, which also helps boost website rankings.

SEO for WooCommerce

WordPress is primarily a content creation platform where it is easy to add and edit metadata to ensure that pages rank for specific keywords. With plugins such as Yoast SEO, you will be able to highly optimize your WordPress site and have full control over every detail related to SEO.

WooCommerce is built purely on top of WordPress and takes advantage of the features the latter already has, the only problem is: the site speed depends mostly on the hosting service you use.

Which is better for SEO

So, Shopify is better in terms of SEO and you basically don't have to worry about optimization because your site speed is always the best.

Summary

Comparisons like these never go out of style, and when you do plan to build an e-commerce site, it's mostly a matter of choosing a platform based on your specific needs, and here's our final bit of advice.

Choose Shopify if...

  1. You like the simplicity of a one-stop shop and can launch your e-commerce site immediately after registration
  2. You don't want to handle everything yourself and don't mind paying for some services
  3. You want a highly reliable, responsive support team ready to respond to your questions
  4. You basically don't care about any technical details, you just want the site to work as expected
  5. You need a highly optimized solution
  6. Select WooCommerce if...
  7. You want full control of your own e-commerce website
  8. You want to have access to thousands of themes and plugins to extend the rich functionality of your website and not mind paying for some services
  9. You don't mind taking a while to set up and aren't afraid to handle everything yourself

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Conclusion

The only question is, which side are you going to pick?

Let me know in the comments.

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